The world is constantly changing on many fronts and they all have an impact on the way businesses operate. Harnessing the right tools and responding to the right trends can go a long way in bringing your business to the next level and unlocking new revenue streams.
However, getting a grasp on which waves to ride won’t be easy because things are changing all the time. With that being said, we’ve identified what we feel are three broad trends that businesses should keep an eye on within the next year.
- E-commerce: Tap into marketplaces, adapt your platforms to suit consumer habits, and keep customer data privacy a priority as sales growth accelerates
- Sustainability: Be transparent about your sustainability efforts with reporting, and look for ways to harness renewable energy to minimise costs
- Generative AI: Use it prudently, keeping in mind challenges surrounding plagiarism and factual inaccuracies
1. E-commerce growth
The pandemic proved to be a game-changer for e-commerce, with top retailers in the US seeing sales grow at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 20.7% between 2020 and 2022. This momentum does not look to be slowing down, as the largest e-commerce sales growth is projected to take place in 2024, with total sales increasing by 38.9% to $2.3 trillion.
While new shopping habits are behind much of this growth, there are also several factors contributing to its rise, including the increasing use of mobile devices and the number of people who have become used to the convenience of shopping online.
It goes without saying that marketplaces are hives of activity and offer a great deal of earning potential for any business, whether they are a startup or established corporation. One of the best ways to leverage such channels is by opening virtual accounts, which enables businesses to accept foreign currency payments from customers wherever they are.
For example, a Singaporean furniture retailer who opens a Wallex Virtual Account can go on to enter Indonesian marketplaces like Tokopedia, bypassing the tedious processes that is often necessary to get a local Indonesian bank account.
� Read More: Digital Bank Account vs. Virtual Account vs. Global Business Account – How Do They Differ?
If e-commerce is something that contributes a substantial amount of revenue to your business, here are some things to consider:
Changing consumer expectations
Consumers today are less patient and want access to their services, support, and delivery of goods to be as fast as possible. In fact, 41% of online shoppers expect to receive their orders within 24 hours. An outcome of the greater use of mobile devices means that online shoppers are likely to begin a purchase on one device and finish it on another. According to Google, as many as 85% of shoppers are doing this, which underscores the importance of building omnichannel experiences that allow users to be remain connected across all devices and platforms, from social to mobile and in-store.
More demand for data and data privacy
Gartner has predicted that by the end of 2024, 75% of the global population will have their personal data protected under modern privacy regulations. Meanwhile, 70% of customers expect personalised experiences from brands. This presents e-commerce players with a tricky situation because data is at the heart of everything, informing marketing strategies, campaign messaging, audience targeting, the personalised experiences that consumers seek and more — and lots of it is needed to ensure the best returns on every dollar spent.
But this also places a great amount of responsibility on their shoulders as consumers’ awareness, concerns and demands for data privacy grows. Moving forward, companies must plan to strengthen data security and management protocols if they wish to retain the trust and brand loyalty of their customers.
Evolution of UX & UI
The look and feel of websites and apps are immensely different from just 10 years ago as user experience (UX) and user interface (UI) design are always evolving, and as more people access the internet on mobile devices such as smartphones and tablets, it’s crucial to keep your websites and apps optimised for all platforms. Simplifying navigation, designing your app to be easily used with one hand, and introducing personalised notifications are some ways to achieve this.
The effects of climate change are becoming increasingly harsh and being felt by people in all corners of the world. As the need for a collective response to mitigate these effects becomes more evident, a substantial shift is occurring in how consumers perceive sustainability and this is shaping their expectations of businesses.
At the same time, sustainability extends far beyond engaging in environmentally-friendly or socially responsible initiatives from a business perspective. In fact, it involves ensuring the long-term success of your business. The benefits of include lower costs, risk, and improved brand reputation. But above all, the pursuit of sustainability is simply the right thing to do.
Here are some suggestions on how your business can improve its sustainability.
The use of renewable energy is one of the most important things businesses can do to reduce their impact on the environment. And it’s not just a feel-good measure – renewable energy is also becoming increasingly cost-effective. In 2021 alone, investments in renewable energy led to savings of US$55 billion in global energy generation in 2022. And as battery storage technology continues to improve, renewable energy will become even more affordable and reliable.
Accountability is as important as commitment when it comes to sustainability, and publishing the results of your sustainability efforts is the best way to show the public and consumers that action has been taken. Large corporations are already releasing such reports to stakeholders and the public on their sustainability efforts and outcomes, but this practice is expected to become more widespread in the coming years. To begin, it’s important to first define your objectives and set goals, and referring to the different sustainability reporting frameworks include the Global Reporting Initiative (GRI), the Sustainability Accounting Standards Board (SASB), and Task Force on Climate-related Financial Disclosures (TCFD) can help you do this.
Employees are more inclined to seek out companies who share their values – including a commitment to sustainability. A Delotte survey revealed 55% of Gen Z and 54% of millennials would research a company’s environmental impact and policies before they would accept an offer from them. This means that prioritising sustainability, allowing hybrid work, and making a conscious effort to reduce your carbon footprint could help your business to attract and retain top talent.
3. Generative AI
Generative AI refers to the use of AI systems to create new content, such as images, videos, and written content, autonomously and without human intervention. It first entered the mainstream with ChatGPT’s emergence in late 2022, with individuals and businesses beginning to see its potential throughout 2023. However, businesses are expected to fully harness the capabilities of generative AI to drive innovation, enhance customer experiences, and gain a competitive edge in the global market in 2024.
There is no question that this is a powerful tool, especially for marketers and creative professionals as it enables the production of content at scale. Depending on the nature of your business and industry however, there are a number of things to keep in mind as you deploy generative AI within your business.
Generative AI can produce anywhere from short- to long-form written content at the click of a button, but the onus is on the user to check and verify claims and statistics being made. Google’s AI chatbot Bard made an error in its first demonstration, while ChatGPT has been known to fabricate academic citations.
But this does not detract from the potential that generative AI has and value it can deliver. It is a reminder that AI tools are ultimately a tool — meant to aid the writing process. It is no substitute for research and creativity.
Copyright and intellectual property
Just like ChatGPT or Bard can churn out paragraph after paragraph of blog posts, poems or taglines, text-to-image AI tools like DALL-E 2 or Stable Diffusion allow for the creation of striking visuals that can be used for a variety of purposes, including event posters, website banners, or startup logos. The problem lies in how such images are generated. AI tools are trained on large datasets available in the public domain, and this includes the works of independent artists.
The legal and ethical dimensions emerge when such AI-generated visuals are employed for commercial purposes, which could be infringing upon the rights of artists and creators. Because AI-generated images might inadvertently mirror the style, composition, and even specific details in existing artwork, its use blurs the line between originality and plagiarism, and is a discussion that is likely to continue in the near future.
Stay on course for business expansion with Wallex
From Asia to Australia and America, the world is constantly changing and opportunities to expand your business into new markets are everywhere. Focusing on the fundamentals enables your business to capitalise on them, and one of the best ways of doing so is to simplify the way you do international payments and FX.
Wallex was designed to do just that. Make payments in 47 currencies to over 160 countries, collect money in 36 currencies, and hold 13 top global and Asian currencies in our Multi-Currency Account with better speed, support, and savings.
Say goodbye to expensive fees and FX spreads from banks, and convert your currencies with our competitive, near mid-market rates — and zero hidden fees. Time your conversions to when rates are favourable and lock them in for up to 24 hours.
Tips for success to navigate the ever changing economic landscape